Archive for April 2014

Define The Successful Habits For Your Organization

April 28, 2014

Navy SEAL combat veteran Brent Gleeson is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Internet Marketing Inc. His leadership approach is inspired by the unrivaled Navy SEAL training and the Navy SEAL Creed.  Here are the seven habits (likely an extension of, but not a replacement for, Core Values) Navy SEALs have for success:

  1. Be loyal. Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support, and never throwing a team member under the bus.
  2. Put others before yourself. Get up every day and ask yourself what you will do to add value to your team, such as simply offering your assistance with a project.
  3. Be reflective. Reflecting on your mistakes ensures you never repeat them.
  4. Be obsessively organized. Some of us innately have this ability, often to a fault, and some have to work at it a bit more.
  5. Assume you don’t know enough. Any effective team member understands that training is never complete.
  6. Be detail-oriented. Attention to detail could avoid catastrophic results.
  7. Never get comfortable. Always push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

It’s unlikely these would all apply to your team, but have you defined the habits required for success in your organization?

Empower yourself to take time to define the important habits for your organization, and your team will experience more success.

Performance Reviews Versus Performance Appraisals

April 21, 2014

What’s the difference between a Performance Review and a Performance Appraisal?  Though there are no formal or official distinctions between a Performance Review and a Performance Appraisal, and both terms are frequently used interchangeably, we advise clients to think of Performance Reviews as part of the performance acceleration process and Performance Appraisals as an event.

Performance Appraisals are the formal appraisal document a supervisor delivers to their direct report on the organization’s official Performance Appraisal form.  The event occurs either annually or semi-annually and often encompasses a salary adjustment.  The lengthy form is filed in the employee’s file and rarely referenced again.

Performance Reviews are informal reviews between a supervisor and their direct report as a part of a process in which the direct report’s performance is discussed and adjustments are communicated and tracked.  The review should cover previously communicated topics and take place at least quarterly; lengthy performance forms are not used (blank paper and/or 5×7 cards work best).  In some cases, clients have found doing this quarterly satisfies their Performance Appraisal, but your corporate form need not be abandoned if used during a more formal event.  We suggest Performance Reviews include four simple questions:

  • What did you accomplish last quarter?
  • What are you going to accomplish this quarter?
  • What are you going to do to develop?
  • How did you demonstrate the organization’s core values?

The Performance Reviews should drive the Performance Appraisal event.  Use Performance Appraisals AND Performance Reviews to empower your direct reports for success.

How Leaders Ask For Feedback Impacts The Feedback They Receive

April 14, 2014

What do Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Frédéric Chopin, George Orwell, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Charles Schulz, Steven Spielberg, Larry Page, and J. K. Rowling all have in common? They are all introverts who’s feedback has made a huge impact on our lives.

Often, the most insightful feedback comes from the analytical, introverted observer who spends more time digesting and thinking a situation or problem through before offering their insight.  The challenge is, while they are processing their thoughts (especially in meetings filled with more extroverted types), the train has pulled out of the station before they have had a chance to offer their feedback.  I’m sure you’ve been in those meetings where an idea is presented, excitement builds, momentum is created and the last thing an introvert wants to do is speak up to share the potential obstacles or concerns they have thought about.

As the leader, it’s easy to accept an exciting new idea, but every good leader must explore potential downsides.  Because introverts are known to nod their heads as a way of demonstrating active listening, that head nod is often misinterpreted as consent to the idea at hand.  The team must encourage the introverts to express their opinions.  One of the best ways to do this is when and idea is discussed, take a trip around the room and ask everyone to identify two items they like best and two items that concern them about the idea.

Empower your direct reports to offer a difference of opinion to save yourself and your organization from avoidable problems or disasters while creating plans destined for success.

Remember To Ask “Why”

April 7, 2014

In 2012 there was a television commercial for Hyundai Sonata featuring a little boy following a man doing yard work and asking him “why?” about various questions (see it here).  At the end of the commercial, the man looks at his neighbor and then to the boy where he says, “Why don’t you go ask your Dad?”

It seems somewhere between childhood and management, leaders stop asking “why.”

The 5 Whys is a formal iterative question-asking technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem. The “5” in the name derives from an empirical observation on the number of iterations typically required to resolve the problem.

Great leaders are always trying to understand what’s going on. Empower your team to ask “why” and you’ll have more success.